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Southern Soft Lads (Innit A Long Way) Tour 2007


Over a dozen Southern Soft Lads took a pioneer sprint, in their wagons (except one who took his steed).  Went across the Rio Thames and headed up north into Injun Country.

As this was my 1st trip into unknown territory, me and me scout went ahead, one day early.  Nufink to it.  Round the M25, up the M1 to junction 26, looked at the sun, switched on the sat nav and soon at the site, on the plateau or A515.

Arrived to find no local natives around, so it was left to me to have a recky of the field.  This had to be done very carefully as there were lots of Buffalo Pats.  Found the best place to pitch Tipi, not too near road, pub, main gate or toilet.  The landlord of the pub turned up about 5pm and gave permission to park up and unload.  Got both bikes off wagon, put up Tipi, had tea, made bed and off to sleep.

Friday:  Next morning a massive motor home with trailer arrived and went around the field a couple of times, squashing Buffalo pats.  Thanks Robin.  Then slowly more and more arrived, Phil on his Chief, followed by his Mrs (Jo Lakey) driving the wagon, but Tess the dog was directing where to park up, it was nearest to the only tree around for miles (do bitches need trees?).  The two young brothers turned up, with their firm’s van.  Two bikes wheeled out, they were the oldest Indians on the rally and looked great.

Campsite filling up fast.  It was very nice to see families, with young ones.  I think the children enjoyed it.  Not all the bikes were Indians, quite a few Drifters and Harleys etc.  Plus combinations (about 5 I think).

Paid my fee at gate, £25 for weekend, which included badge, BBQ, big breakfast in pub on Sunday morning, ride out, museum and music.  Well worth it and thanks to all who worked for it.

About 9pm lone ranger Fred turned up, on his Chief.  Over 200 miles each way, for which he got some sort of prize.  He parked near me, Anita and the dog.  Guess what, he opened a bag and out popped a self erecting tent, a self blow-up Lillo, all done in a few minutes.  The dog’s mum gave him a cup of tea.  Some fellows have it real easy!

Saturday:  10.30 ride out to a little village called Bakewell (tarts), where we were all treated as guests at a private museum called M & C Collections of Historic Motorcycles.  They were only expecting 30 riders but about 70 turned up.   I counted 50 bikes in the small car park.  A very nice collection, time and space, I could not do it justice but it was a privilege to see it.  The owner’s wife looked after us with food and tea.  Thank You.

About 1.30 it was time to carry on with our ride, all 50 bikes started up, the noise (music to us) was quite something.  The traffic was stopped so that we could all go as one column.  I think the town liked it.

Next bit of riding was interesting, as it was going to be in two halves.  First to a pub car park, then split up, one lot carry on, the others going back to camp.  You would think this was a simple idea, but No!  Got to car park and it was full up with sight seers.  No one knew who wanted to go back to camp, some carried on.  Poor Anita was getting overheated, I’m not sure if she had a fag on or if it was sweat, only when she took her helmet off, steam was coming out of her head, and decided not to continue.

I did not know where the others went to so I had some catching up to do.  Throttle wide open, 50mph down hill, soon saw some slow back riders.  Over took them and caught up with the young brothers, as they had a route map and can read, it was best to stay behind.  After one long steep hill we found the main group, looking over Shivering Mountain.  Stayed for half an hour to let the bikes cool down etc, then one happy crowd of Indian riders went back to camp.  About 60 miles all told, a very enjoyable day.  I’ll skip evening games, BBQ.

Sunday:  Fred was first to go home as he was on the Chief, 200 miles to go.  Well done.  Phil had a tear in his eye as he said he would love to be with Fred, but it would not be fair on the dog to navigate whilst Jo drove the motor home.

After a superb breakfast, the Southern Soft Lads went for a 20 mile ride.  Very nice roads, beautiful scenery.  Went through one village and its pub was called “The Silent Woman”.  The pub sign had a woman with no head.

Got back to site, loaded up and came home.  A most enjoyable weekend.

PS.  Any lasting memories?  Yep, I was constipated as I didn’t fancy using the one and only pan.  Am now on cream medication.

Nobby Melrose        

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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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